Amena Agbaje, Partner Manager, NA East – Shopify Plus


1. As a black woman in tech, what has been your biggest obstacle/challenge to date?

My biggest challenge has been navigating the space that is dominated by those that don’t look like me but more importantly getting that very same room to take me seriously.  I recall a situation where I was leading a discussion with a room of men but questions they were asking were only directed to my boss and I was being constantly looked over. 

2.    If you could change one thing during your experience in tech and in the workplace what would it be?

The one thing I would change would be to speak up more in the early days of my career. In an attempt to just continue to make strides in my career, I think I put up with more than I should have. That should have never been the case.

3.   Moving the dial is an ongoing mission we strive to do, is there someone or something that has inspired you to #movethedial in your journey. 

I have a tonne of black female leaders, even colleagues that I admire, for the work they do generally or for the work they do shining the light on our communities. Specifically speaking, I love Bozoma Saint John and the confidence she exudes. She is so unapologetically herself. I had the opportunity to hear her at the Move The Dial Summit and hearing about her experiences and how she’s navigated her career has shown me still, that I can be in those same spaces and become much more. 

Generally speaking, the opportunity to be impactful for the younger generation inspires me because when I was growing up, tech didn’t look like an avenue for me. I didn’t see anyone like me there. Being a person that a young black girl can look to and say “Amena is doing it so maybe I do that too.”

4.    What does being Black In Tech mean to you?

To me, it comes with the responsibility of creating awareness that there is a lack and aiding systems to create change but also creating opportunities for other women/men of colour who are looking to move into tech and move up in their careers. The “Send the elevator back down” approach, always.

5.    How can the industry move the dial for black women in tech?

I am by no means an expert but I think on a company level, it is investing in our communities; this can be from the high school, college and university level to bring mentorship/opportunities for new skill sets that will make them more qualified for positions in tech. 

Move the Dial